April 11th, 2008
05:57 PM ET
15 years ago

Clinton hits Obama over 'bitter' comment

[cnn-photo-caption image= http://i.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2008/images/04/11/art.clintoncomment.ap.jpg caption="Clinton is seizing on a recently reported Obama comment."]

(CNN) - Democrat Hillary Clinton is seizing on comments Barack Obama recently made in which he said some Pennsylvanians who have lost their jobs are "bitter."

"It's being reported that my opponent said that the people of Pennsylvania who face hard times are bitter," Clinton said during a campaign event in Philadelphia. "Well that's not my experience. As I travel around Pennsylvania. I meet people who are resilient, optimist positive who are rolling up their sleeves."

"Pennsylvanians don't need a president who looks down on them," she said. "They need a president who stands up for them, who fights hard for your future, your jobs, your families."

Obama's comments were reported earlier Friday by the Web site Huffingtonpost.com. The Web site says he made them at a fundraising event in San Francisco last Sunday. On Friday evening, it posted audio of the comments that verified their accuracy.

"You go into these small towns in Pennsylvania and, like a lot of small towns in the Midwest, the jobs have been gone now for 25 years and nothing's replaced them...And they fell through the Clinton administration, and the Bush administration, and each successive administration has said that somehow these communities are gonna regenerate and they have not," he said.

"And it's not surprising then they get bitter, they cling to guns or religion or antipathy to people who aren't like them or anti-immigrant sentiment or anti-trade sentiment as a way to explain their frustrations," he also said.

McCain's campaign also criticized the comment Friday. "It shows an elitism and condescension towards hardworking Americans that is nothing short of breathtaking," said Steve Schmidt, a senior advisor to McCain. "It is hard to imagine someone running for president who is more out of touch with average Americans."

(UPDATE: The Obama campaign responds after the jump)

Obama campaign spokeswoman Jen Psaki would not confirm Obama made the comments.

"No one from our press office was there - we don't have a campaign recording–we are neither confirming nor refuting."

UPDATE: The Obama campaign released a statement in response to the criticism: "Senator Obama has said many times in this campaign that Americans are understandably upset with their leaders in Washington for saying anything to win elections while failing to stand up to the special interests and fight for an economic agenda that will bring jobs and opportunity back to struggling communities," said Obama spokesman Tommy Vietor.

"And if John McCain wants a debate about who's out of touch with the American people, we can start by talking about the tax breaks for the wealthiest Americans that he once said offended his conscience but now wants to make permanent.”

Filed under: Hillary Clinton
soundoff (658 Responses)
  1. Janet from NH

    It would be nice if Hillary would stick to the issues instead of being a petty witch. God help us if she becomes president. We will be in more wars than you can count.

    April 11, 2008 06:05 pm at 6:05 pm |
  2. NickNas


    She didn't just try to disect a great speakers speech and make a fool of herself AGAIN?? Yes Hillary people ARE Bitter. Of course with HUNDREDS of Millions of Dollars we understand that you just cant understand that.

    April 11, 2008 06:05 pm at 6:05 pm |
  3. Barbara from Seattle

    I think Hillary is the one who is bitter!

    April 11, 2008 06:05 pm at 6:05 pm |
  4. Shelley in NC

    Could this woman be any more out of touch with reality?? I've had about all I can take!

    April 11, 2008 06:05 pm at 6:05 pm |
  5. Lorenzo

    Try again!!!!!!!!! This is getting very silly. She has no substance now
    everything is inflated.

    April 11, 2008 06:06 pm at 6:06 pm |
  6. JF

    Just words...
    Hillary 08

    April 11, 2008 06:06 pm at 6:06 pm |
  7. chris-seattle

    when will she quit? she is the one who is bitter that her free lunch is now not on the table.

    April 11, 2008 06:06 pm at 6:06 pm |
  8. DM Arlington, TX

    So basically, Hillary and Bill can't get there lies striaght. That's the problem. Bill went on to say that her age is the reason why she can't remember what about the 3:00 AM. This is a house divided with what lies to follow. She is for NAFTA and for Columbia Free Trade.

    April 11, 2008 06:06 pm at 6:06 pm |
  9. wpinkard

    another riduculously weak attempt by Clinton to attack Obama. Anyone who reads what he said, knows he was not talking down on anyone. She is pathetic.

    April 11, 2008 06:06 pm at 6:06 pm |
  10. HD

    Obama was obviously empathizing with the group of Americans who have been left out of the Clinton and Bush administrations. That is why we do not need another Clinton or Bush/McCain administration and we need change so that we can move towards fixing things for average americans.

    April 11, 2008 06:06 pm at 6:06 pm |
  11. chris from Oregon

    Funny. Hillary, but it is ok to be "bitter". You might not be able to emphathize with those citizens (seeing that you are wealthy), but people will go through a wide range of feelings—both positive and negative when they lose jobs.

    April 11, 2008 06:06 pm at 6:06 pm |
  12. Justin

    I'm really getting tired of her.
    OBAMA 08!

    April 11, 2008 06:06 pm at 6:06 pm |
  13. ike in Atlanta

    Whats wrong with saying the truth?
    The Clintons are so used to lying that anybody who dares say the truth is against them.

    April 11, 2008 06:07 pm at 6:07 pm |
  14. mik

    HIILARY 08

    April 11, 2008 06:07 pm at 6:07 pm |
  15. Sean Dunn

    Anything to score a point, Hillary.

    Please ignore the fact that Obama is telling the truth. Blue collar workers all over the rust belt are frustrated because they will not live as well as their parents without more education and more help. But ignore those facts, Hillary. Ignore that your husband said the same thing while running for president. Ignore your own realities, and your understanding of the effects of NAFTA on these people. Ignore it all when a point can be scored.

    Score your point, girl, and remind all of us what we hated about the Clinton political machine (even us democrats). Your quote above is why people like me are leaving you by the truck load. The political opportunism is simply sad and desperate.

    April 11, 2008 06:07 pm at 6:07 pm |
  16. Huhhhhh.....?

    What are you talking about Hillary. This is why you have lost your lead in the state of Penn. Get it together, or better yet....get out of the race!

    April 11, 2008 06:07 pm at 6:07 pm |
  17. TwistAWord

    I think I see a straw sticking out of a bush about midway my one acre back yard. Hillary, could you reach for it please?

    To all the happy people who are not bitter over losing their jobs to offshore contracts, please send me the happy remedy? Having "Bob" in India answer my benefits questions is really irritating me. Any help would be appreciated.

    April 11, 2008 06:07 pm at 6:07 pm |
  18. Ben, MD

    She is terrible, she is a disaster, she is so bitter that even McCain seems positive.

    Get out and let us win this race for the White House!!!!!!!!!!!!

    April 11, 2008 06:07 pm at 6:07 pm |
  19. Rus in St. Paul, MN

    This is a stretch and taking things a lot out of context. Everyone's been bitter at government since government's were first established.

    Just take a look at Congress and the President's approval ratings and tell me people are not bitter.

    April 11, 2008 06:07 pm at 6:07 pm |
  20. Ryan G.

    Obama tells it like it is. Give me harsh truth over pretty lies any day.

    April 11, 2008 06:07 pm at 6:07 pm |
  21. Todd

    Darn right people are bitter, and they have a right to be. CNN has no problem calling the Clinton/Obama fight "bitter", and Clinton has done her part to make it so. But people are bitter over gas prices, iraq, unemployment, foreclosures, the war debt, the environement, immigration issues, 9/11, etc., and as Obama states, they have a right to be bitter. But he offers hope.

    April 11, 2008 06:08 pm at 6:08 pm |
  22. Daniel, Plattsburgh, NY

    Good lord, do I really see the Clinton and McCain campaigns suggesting that people who have lost their jobs due to economic change in the last 25 years aren't bitter? What kind of idiots do they think we are?

    April 11, 2008 06:08 pm at 6:08 pm |
  23. Bacusla



    April 11, 2008 06:08 pm at 6:08 pm |
  24. Faith - Ohio

    Clinton...CLInton...CLINTON!!!! Just STOP it!!! Why don't you spend your time cleaning up Bill's mess instead of messing with Barack! Why don't you just continue to under mind the voters of PA as you did us here in Ohio. (I wish I could have my vote back!) They from what I see, seems to like that! I just pray the wake up and realize before April 22nd.

    April 11, 2008 06:08 pm at 6:08 pm |
  25. Sam

    These Clintons need to understand this message loud and clear: whatever you are selling....I ain't buying it.

    April 11, 2008 06:08 pm at 6:08 pm |
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